Cowboys vs. Patriots: Week 5 – Five Things

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Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker

Rolando McClain

(55) celebrates with defensive tackle

Nick Hayden

(96) during the game against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Stop the Run to Stop Tom Brady – Nick Hayden has done a fantastic job this season against the run. Actually for the most part the Cowboys have been pretty good against the run as a whole. Getting a couple of important players back will help this remain a strength of the defense. It is here where the Cowboys must place Brady in 2nd and long as well as 3rd and long. Brady can convert on long plays, but the odds go way down.

Stopping the run will also force certain passing downs, which can allow the first thing in this week’s five things to be done. With all of the talent and football IQ returning to the field this week on the defensive side of the ball, there is hope this can be done easier than it’s been the last couple of weeks.

If the Cowboys are to win this game they will have to rely on the defense to carry much of the effort. Stopping the run is the first part of the plan. If the defense can get off the field and the offense can sustain a few drives here and there, it will save quarterback Brandon Weeden from having to get into a shootout with the Patriots. This will be easier said than done, but very possible.

Next: Gronk? What Gronk?